buildingSMART Forums

Free and Open-Source buildingSMART Chapter creation proposal

From what I gather in the open-source community, there are a number of us who have been working in previously isolated bubbles, but feel that we’d like to “loosely” join together to provide a full open-source and free software pipeline for the entire community to benefit from, and help uphold high standards of all forms of open-data (BIM, GIS, building physics, CDEs and versioning). I cannot speak for all the FOSS folks, of course, but it would be good to get some form of formal recognition in the form of a FOSS buildingSMART Chapter. The benefits would be:

  1. The industry can have more free software options, increasing the opportunity for innovation, lower barrier of entry, agile development, and transparency for BIM
  2. The open source community can have a “voice” to represent their views, similar to how vendors can currently also have a voice.
  3. The open source community can perhaps create pathways towards cheaper certification processes for BIM tools. The current model excludes indie developers, not necessarily at the benefit to users.

If chapters are limited to geographic location, this may under represent FOSS developers. I think more official exposure of FOSS devs would be help due to similar goals of openness and interoperability.

At the moment, there are a handful of FOSS devs who would be interested in joining, but this is very much an open-ended proposal.

What would be involved to make recognition of such a chapter official?


I like the idea very much… a kind of “body” with no geographic link, and with a real, official “voice”. Not sure what a chapter actually does and whatnot, though… That might be something to see. But definitely there is a lot of very good things coming from the FOSS world in terms of interchange, automation, and general “hackability” that would be great to be seen better.

Sounds like a great idea if it doesn’t duplicate current efforts.

This is a great idea, the open source community can bring more fresh vitality :crazy_face:

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This should probably be posted in the “Chapters” forum…

Current policy would prevent such a chapter from getting set up (focus = regional/country) and lead by an established organisation. And even then, you’d probably have to organise sponsorship to cough up the chapter fee to allow active voting.

But the question is interesting, especially on the subject of looking at the certification process for FOSS projects.

Would it not be more of a “Room” type endeavour? Rather than a “Chapter”?

Great idea!

Where would there be more information what a Chapter is and what a Room is in the data model of building smart.


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@Moult and others,

While Léon, I, and the bSI Management Office understand the sentiment behind this, there already exists a solution via the Technical Room and its Implementation and Model Support Groups (ISG and MSG).

While the ISG has traditionally been a refuge of the “big” international vendors that are members of buildingSMART, over the years we’ve seen smaller companies and individuals (like @jonm and @Arie_van_Kranenburg) become more active and participate in committees like the MSG and ISG , as well as on projects.

The effort to create this online Forum, as well as moves to change the semiannual ISG meeting to an “IFC Development” meeting (see ISG Spring 2020 Meeting (#70) - Pune, India (proposed)), is our move to be more inclusive of more voices than have participated in the past. In addition, we’re trying to establish a more regular online meeting (see Proposal for monthly "IFC Development" Calls in 2020) so that issues don’t have to fester for 6 months at a time or rely solely on this format to be discussed or explored (sometimes its easier to talk out a response than it is to write).

We have also been working to further open up discussions and efforts via the buildingSMART GitHub, so developers of all kinds and in all places can contribute to common projects, or branch off existing work and experiment before proposing new ideas to the community.

Rather than creating a separate “chapter” or “room”, I would ask that @Moult and others exploit these opportunities first. If you can, join your local/national/regional chapter (usually they have individual and academic membership levels). If there is no chapter, or you are working as a researcher/academic or startup developer, you are still welcome to participate and contribute. All I ask is that you interact respectfully, learn about the history to get a better context of why we are at where we are at today, and then be constructive toward each other and the leadership as we try to move things forward.

Best regards,
Jeffrey W. Ouellette
bSI-ISG Leader / bSI Technical Coordinator / bSI Technical Room International Project Coordinator

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Personally for me just one thing is important:

Please open a page for IFD, IFC, IDM, MVD, BCF, CDE, … news to let all of us know what is bSI plans and “deadlines?”

For instance, when we will see IDM/MVD Toolkit? Does it open-source? Does is part of IfcDoc improvement? Or something separate?

When we will see SysML/UML implementation? Especially in IfcDoc?

These kinds of news and notes that all of us, especially those who are active in bSI forum, can understand your views about today and tomorrow

Kind regards,

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Do you mean “bSI plans and deadlines” in the sense of a more detailed “bSI roadmap” covering future bSI strategy (e.g. covering the next decade up to year 2030)?

@jwouellette and @berlotti - would it be possible to set up a fund for free software developers to participate in events like the oslo summit? This is similar to what the KDE Foundation does - they allocate a portion of funds to sponsor developers to travel to these meetings. The funds could also be used for certification sponsorship. It is very expensive for an individual to commit to travel that distance.